Toronto After Dark 2019: The Wretched (2019) – Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce

Closing out the Toronto After dark film festival tonight at Scotibank Theater is the latest film from the Pierce Brothers as they have the Toronto Premiere of The Wretched.

With overtones of 80s classics, like The Evil Dead and Fright Night (and going a little further back to the 70s with Jaws – I may be projecting there, but that’s what happens anytime I see a bit of a montage sequence set around a marina) this one is sure to entertain the After Dark crowd and is a rousing, entertaining way to end this year’s festival. Ben (John-Paul Howard) has traveled to stay with his father, Liam (Jamison Jones) while attempting to deal with his parents’ impending divorce.

Problems arise when he starts to believe that there is a witch living next door posing as just another one of the neighbors, but ready to continue her thousand year reign over those who fall under her spell. With demonic abilities she is able to conjure spells that makes one forget the loved ones around you, fallling into her grips, as she feeds on the forgotten.

Ben slowly cottons onto what is going on, despite it’s impossibility, and may be the only one to stop her. Or maybe there’s a girl… there’s always a girl. In this case, there’s Mallory (Piper Curda), who gets pulled into the adventure as well, and hopefully lives to tell the tale.

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It’s a slick well polished film that is perfect for the After Dark crowd. The effects are top-notch, and the actors deliver solid performances. I also have to say, I really love the sound design. And that reveal in the final act, LOVE IT!

The Pierce Brothers very obviously love the genre, and love the films of the genre as well, and consequently have created a very entertaining and fun film that tells an engaging horror story, creates a very spooky new horror icon with the witch, and has some very spooky sequences without having to descend to musical stings to augment their jump scares.

Watching the film, and if you know your 80s films, not just the horror but teen comedies, and more, you can get so much out of it. There’s a lot of heart in this film, and I can imagine the production was a joy-filled experience which translates nicely to what is on screen.

There is something truly horrific about people being forgotten by those that love them, stolen away and saved to be devoured by some horrifying creature. If you actually sit and contemplate that idea, it’s truly frightening.

The existential horror of it doesn’t overshadow the sheer entertainment the film doles out. The Pierce Brothers know the story they want to tell, and do so ably and entertaininly.

Of all the films at Toronto After Dark this year, and I have enjoyed a number of them, The Wretched is the most fun.

If I don’t see you After Dark… perhaps we’ll see one another next year when Toronto After dark returns for another round of fantastic genre films.

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